Home Development for Android Google vs Epic Games court documents: the search engine was seriously considering buying the game developer

Google vs Epic Games court documents: the search engine was seriously considering buying the game developer

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Court filings between Epic Games and Google, represented by by Verge journalists, indicated that in 2018, Google was thinking about buying the game maker. With this, the company hoped to suppress the protests of Epic Games against high commissions on games and prevent attempts to bypass the Play Store systems. Tim Sweeney, the head of the game maker, said that he learned about these plans only during the legal proceedings.

Google vs Epic Games court documents: the search engine was seriously considering buying the game developer

Last August, Epic Games sued against Google, accusing the company of violating antitrust laws. This came hours after the removal Fortnite game from the Play Store. According to the gamer, Google has created contractual and technological barriers that preclude competing ways to distribute Android apps. The lawsuit states that Google purposely turns the Play Store into the only viable method of app distribution. With no other options, developers have to pay what Epic believes are exorbitant commissions on games.

Google vehemently denies all of the allegations against it, saying that it does not create any barriers to app distribution through other stores. The company claims that it removed Fortnite due to violations of the site’s usage rules. Specifically, it is about the introduction in the mobile version of Fornite the purchase of game virtual currency (V-bucks) by direct payment, bypassing the systems of Apple and Google.

On August 6 this year, the online edition of the Verge wrote about a new case, according to which Google tried to suppress competition by part or all of its purchase of Epic Games.

Gamerdel claimed that his plans to circumvent the commission in the app store threatened Google’s monopoly. He presented one of the company’s internal documents in which its employees call Epic Games a "contagion" and discuss plans to buy it to deal with the threat. The document doesn’t specify the date of the correspondence, but the Verge speculated that it occurred during preparations for Fornite’s launch on Android in 2018.

It’s unclear from the case file whether Google sent a takeover offer to the game maker. Epic Games head Tim Sweeney wrote on his microblog that he only learned about this discussion during the trial. He noted that the company itself talked about the "frankly awful" experience of downloading apps from external sources – the user has to perform up to 15 actions to download and install them, versus 2-3 when installing through the Play Store or AppStore. That said, it’s the one that he says created these conditions.

In its complaint, Epic Games argues that Google understands how the barriers it has erected affect app distribution. Nevertheless, these measures reinforce and protect the company’s monopoly.

The Verge has asked Google for comment on the published data. The company did not give a detailed explanation, indicating only that the lawsuit is without merit and mischaracterizes internal business conversations.

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